We all have it.
That little nagging voice in our heads that is constantly judging everything we do, telling us whether or not we’re meeting some impossible standard we’ve set for ourselves.
Sometimes, this inner critic can be helpful. It tells us when we need to work on ourselves, and points out areas in which we can improve. When managed, your inner critic can even help you achieve excellence in your field.
Unfortunately, it’s far more likely to lead you into negative spirals. When your critic takes over, it can easily become cruel, pushing you into negative patterns of thought that inhibit, rather than propel, your growth.
So, in this post I thought I’d lay out 3 simple steps that you can follow to help you learn how to deal with your inner critic, manage negative self talk and overcome your limiting beliefs.
Related Post: How To Improve Your Presence of Mind.
How To Silence Your Inner Critic
Here are three strategies you can use to silence the inner critic on any subject.
Manage Negative Self-Talk
Firstly, you need to learn how to manage your thoughts.
Every single day we tell ourselves hundreds of mini-stories about our lives. When these stories are good, we feel amazing, but often these stories are filled with negative biases about how we ‘could have’ or ‘should have’ done something different.
The key to countering these stories is to recognize them for what they are, and then begin to ask yourself whether or not they are actually true. Do you really want to believe what that voice is saying? Or, is there a better, more empowering story you could tell about the same situation?
Related Post: How To Break Bad Habits and Create Good Ones.
For example, imagine you worked really hard towards a goal, but failed to achieve what you wanted. Your critic could take over with a story about how you aren’t good enough, you didn’t work hard enough, and you should just accept that everyone is better than you.
But, if you can recognize what that story is, you can change it.
Instead of feeling that you didn’t work hard enough, you might change the story to focus on how much you’ve improved, or how amazing it is that you were even able to get close to that goal. If you have empowering beliefs, you could tell yourself a story about how things are working out for you, even if you don’t yet see how everything fits together.
From a different vantage point, your ‘failure’ can be a true asset, and help you achieve something even greater than you could currently imagine.
Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs
As you begin to manage these stories that the critic tells you, you will probably notice that you will bump up against many limiting beliefs that you hold about yourself.
The critic’s stories often play upon these beliefs. If you believe you’re lazy, the critic will tell a story about how you’re not living up to your potential, or how you’re wasting your time. If you believe you’re stupid, the critic will point to all of those times you fell short of others.
If you can isolate these stories, you can ask what beliefs they point to, and then ask yourself whether or not you want to hold that belief.
If you decide the belief no longer serves you, you can reprogram that belief using autosuggestion techniques, or you could try this guided meditation for clearing subconscious negativity and mental blocks.
Either way, once you become aware of what you want to change, you can begin to take the proactive steps necessary to reframe that belief, and begin raising your energy.
The third and final step is simply to stop paying attention to what that voice is saying. For some, this seems like a daunting task, but it’s actually easier than you think.
The trick to knowing how to stop listening to your inner critic, is simply to recognize that the cruel, critical voice in your head IS NOT YOU. When you recognize this fact, you can let go of everything it says, and begin the path to a more peaceful life.
If you listen to the voice, if you latch onto those thoughts and stories, you will become them. But, if you decide that they aren’t reflective of who you really are, it becomes easier and easier simply to stop paying attention to them.
For a while, the critical voice will persist, but as you keep ignoring it, as you keep replacing it with better-feeling thoughts, it will gradually release.
All you have to do is maintain your focus.